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by Jeff Abbott
Penguin, August 2006
352 pages
ISBN: 0525949720

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Miles Kendrick is a former mob spy now safely hidden away in the Federal Witness Protection Program. Well, safely might not be accurate. Kendrick is currently trying to build a life for himself in Santa Fe, but he is still struggling with the effects of post-traumatic stress.

Before joining the Witness Protection Program, he killed his best friend through his actions as a spy. Andy's voice and comments still haunt him. Allison Vance, his psychiatrist, is helping him deal with his feelings of guilt, but he is unable to tell her the truth about everything.

Some of this is due to the Witness Protection Program and some of this is due to his own fears. Even though he cannot tell her everything, he does like her and feels a connection with her. Shortly after telling Kendrick about a new experimental and illegal treatment for post-traumatic stress, Allison’s office is killed when her office explodes.

Kendrick feels a sense of responsibility so he attempts to find her killer. This puts him up against an assassin who will not allow Kendrick to live. Kendrick must stop the assassin and end the illegal treatments before his enemies kill him.

FEAR is a typical action thriller. Elements of the plot are unbelievable and the body count is pretty high. Like most thrillers, this book is rather violent and occasionally gruesome. The plot relies on coincidences and subterfuge for the story to make sense. Like all action heroes, Kendrick has unknown resources that allows him to outwit his enemies and kill them. For fans of action thrillers, FEAR should satisfy. For those who like a little more to their mysteries, this book might prove to be a disappointment.

FEAR is dramatically different from the paperback series Abbott wrote. He has two paperback series – one that features Jordan Poteet, and one that features Whit Mosely. The Jordan Poteet series is a cozy series, while the Whit Mosely series is a little harder.

The Poteet series and the Mosely series both focus on character relationships and character development rather than non-stop adventure. FEAR is the opposite as it features non-stop action but does not focus on character development in any way. To previous fans of Abbott's mystery, this book will be disappointing as his sense of character and character development have been the most appealing part of his books.

While I am always happy to see an author move on, I do regret the fact that Jeff Abbott has sacrificed some of the qualities that made his previous books so enjoyable.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, October 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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